Are Primary Voters Superficial?

Wednesday, November 16, AD 2011

Rachel Masden has a column up lamenting how Rick Perry’s gaffe in last week’s debate demonstrates our obsessiveness with image over subtance:

As in real life, politicians, voters and the media all get caught up with entertaining but petty nonsense. Case in point: Rick Perry stuck his cowboy boot in his mouth during a recent debate performance, unable to recall one of the three agencies of government he’d euthanize if he were to become president. Turns out it was the Department of Energy — which for a Texas governor to forget about would be a bit like the prime minister of Great Britain forgetting about Buckingham Palace. OK, funny — but really, so what?

For at least 24 hours, the mishap represented arguably the single most globally widespread American news item. I even saw it broadcast and translated on French television in Paris. This is the media and political culture of today — all about stagecraft, showmanship and ratings.

As a political strategist, let me tell you a little secret: Debates are easy to fake. All you need to succeed is a good policy-prep team, a competent spin doctor to distill that policy material down to snappy bite-sized talking points, and the memory and delivery capabilities of a C-list Hollywood actor. Perry just didn’t remember his lines. That’s all.

But what about the other guys who lucked out and did remember all their lines this time? Isn’t it the job of media moderators to recognize boilerplate spin and slice through it on the fly? There’s one reliable way to do this, but it’s rarely seen: In response to a candidate’s prepared take, a media moderator need ask only one question: “What precise action in your background or experience illustrates this principle?” In other words, when a candidate says that he would do something, what has he previously done in his career to demonstrate that value through tangible action? Do you know who any of these candidates really is beyond what he or she claims to be? If not, then thank the style-over-substance media.

The column is timely because I’ve been having some second thoughts about the primary process.

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9 Responses to Are Primary Voters Superficial?

  • How come they don’t use the same microscope on Obama?

    He said there are 57 states and that Hawaii is in Asia.

    And his policies are dangerous. Case in point: President Obama told the Muslim world in Cairo in June 2009 that no government has the right to stop any nation from developing nucular weapons.

    “I understand those who protest that some countries have weapons that others do not. No single nation should pick and choose which nations hold nuclear weapons.”

    Compare that to 20 seconds not naming a wasteful agency Governor Perry would shutter.

    So, look at Texas’ success with years of Governor Perry and compare that to the mess the US is after three years of the genius.

    In conclusion, everyone knows Hawaii is on Monday nights on CBS . . .

  • Agree or not with his substance, at least Ron Paul has substance.

  • If Republican primary voters are seeking intelligence, Cain never should’ve gotten this far. No, the spite wing of the party is looking for an anti-Obama, however unintelligent.

    I also take issue with the idea of Newt as the “ideas man.” He’s a history buff with legislative experience and some speaking ability. That isn’t ideas. That’s knowledge. Wikipedia can’t come up with any ideas. All it can do is search its memory bank and that’s exactly what Newt does. When faced with a new problem, he looks around to find an analog then takes it to the logical extreme and people applaud it as genius. Take his tax plan which is exactly Perry’s plan with a lower rate. Or his foreign policy which consists of repeating lines from books on WW2 and the Cold War. I have seen no evidence that he has an analytical problem-solving framework.

  • And can you imagine submitting to the microscope handlers on those interview occasions? So much chaos in the whole world since 2008 that contenders should have a chronology of events for reference, while the handlers contemplate people in glass houses throwing stones. Would love to know what Jesus wrote in the sand when a crowd was testing His judgement.

    Human compassion and humor won’t be going the way of the insidious cynics, jokers laughing and clapping to the tune of MSM while Satan sneers (?). The Office of President should be about work success, not ratings, parties, cameras, catchy phrases (like one week no boots on the ground) and raising/wasting money.

    By the way, MSM is losing Regis Philbin, to whom the VP paid a short, standing up visit this a.m. but showed audience his back mostly while he said something about Irish Catholic. Regis was gracious and will be missed.

  • If Republican primary voters are seeking intelligence, Cain never should’ve gotten this far.

    Sure. Any idiot can run a national restaurant chain or a consequential trade association. Seats on the board of Federal Reserve Banks are passed out in Cracker Jack boxes.

  • “Agree or not with his substance, at least Ron Paul has substance.”
    Yes, and I believe the substance is tin foil.

  • I think Santorum is strong on substance, but he has attacked fellow republicans in the debates. He attacked Perry in the early debates. Remember those debates? When cordial manners were not the fashion and Perry entered the ring, 6 vs. 1, with Gingrich abstaining. I think it was Gingrich who toned the candidates down on attacking each other. Romney owes a huge thanks to Gingrich for that. It’s unfortunate no one on stage can point out to Romney how philosophically wrong Romneycare is. He’s still embracing as recently as today.

  • We know that poll responses are superficial. But primary voters, I don’t know. This race has so far been dominated by Romney and whoever looks strong enough to take on Romney. But typically voters sober up as the primary approaches, as they did famously when they dropped firebrand Dean in favor of staid Kerry. They’ll probably settle on two candidates, a moderate and a conservative, and those two will slug it out. That’s what happens on the Republican side most of the time.

  • That’s what happens on the Republican side most of the time.

    That happened in 1976. There were never any but two candidates. One was the incumbent President.

China on the Brink of Bankruptcy

Wednesday, November 16, AD 2011

China has long been held up as an economic model by some people on the Left in this country.  For example, go here to read a 2009 piece by New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman in which he celebrates the virtues of the “reasonably enlightened” rulers of China while bashing Republican opposition to Obama.  Knowing a bit about Chinese history, and quite a bit about Communist regimes of various stripes, I have been skeptical.  I have doubted whether anyone could trust the economic statistics put out by the Chinese government and accepted as Gospel by gullible Westerners.  Well, now the curtain has been lifted for a peek behind the scenes of the Chinese economy.

China’s economy has a reputation for being strong and prosperous, but according to a well-known Chinese television personality the country’s Gross Domestic Product is going in reverse.

Larry Lang, chair professor of Finance at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said in a lecture that he didn’t think was being recorded that the Chinese regime is in a serious economic crisis—on the brink of bankruptcy. In his memorable formulation: every province in China is Greece.

The restrictions Lang placed on the Oct. 22 speech in Shenyang City, in northern China’s Liaoning Province, included no audio or video recording, and no media. He can be heard saying that people should not post his speech online, or “everyone will look bad,” in the audio that is now on Youtube.

In the unusual, closed-door lecture, Lang gave a frank analysis of the Chinese economy and the censorship that is placed on intellectuals and public figures. “What I’m about to say is all true. But under this system, we are not allowed to speak the truth,” he said.

Despite Lang’s polished appearance on his high-profile TV shows, he said: “Don’t think that we are living in a peaceful time now. Actually the media cannot report anything at all. Those of us who do TV shows are so miserable and frustrated, because we cannot do any programs. As long as something is related to the government, we cannot report about it.”

He said that the regime doesn’t listen to experts, and that Party officials are insufferably arrogant. “If you don’t agree with him, he thinks you are against him,” he said.

Lang’s assessment that the regime is bankrupt was based on five conjectures.

Firstly, that the regime’s debt sits at about 36 trillion yuan (US$5.68 trillion). This calculation is arrived at by adding up Chinese local government debt (between 16 trillion and 19.5 trillion yuan, or US$2.5 trillion and US$3 trillion), and the debt owed by state-owned enterprises (another 16 trillion, he said). But with interest of two trillion per year, he thinks things will unravel quickly.

Secondly, that the regime’s officially published inflation rate of 6.2 percent is fabricated. The real inflation rate is 16 percent, according to Lang.

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One Response to China on the Brink of Bankruptcy

Hollywood Is Just Too Conservative

Wednesday, November 16, AD 2011

 

It has long amused me that in a country with 40% of the population considering themselves to be conservatives, we have an entertainment industry so dominated by a political point of view that regards conservatives with contempt.  Andrew Klavan, in his own inimitable fashion, explains how Hollywood distorts reality and presents it to us as entertainment.

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2 Responses to Hollywood Is Just Too Conservative

  • Actually, I am not too surprised. The arts (using the term loosely to include Hollywood) have been perceived as a more liberal profession for a long time now. Naturally, it would attract more liberal minded people, and perhaps repel more conservative minded ones. If you are a liberal college student, what major are you most likely to gravitate toward – theatre or finance? Marketing is about as close as liberals would get to a business major. And likewise in reverse for conservative students.

  • What you say is true now c matt, but it is a very recent development. Up to the 20th century artists tended to be quite heterogeneous in their politics. If anything, I think more artists would have been roughly on the right than than the left. (Think John Wilkes Booth for example.) This began to change during the Great Depression, along with the shift in academia from the right to the left.

The Sandusky Interview

Tuesday, November 15, AD 2011

Last week Don posted a useful guide for aspiring defense attorneys.  I think we need to add another bullet:  Under no circumstances should you allow your client, who is under indictment for child molestation, to give a nationally televised interview in which he all but announces his guilt:

In the course of this creepy interview Sandusky denies being a pedophile, but does admit to showering with young boys while “horsing around” with them.

Also, when Costas asks him if he’s attracted to young boys, Sandusky hems and haws before saying no.  I don’t know about you, but if someone asked me if I were attracted to young boys I wouldn’t discuss how I like young boys but I don’t like like young boys.

You almost get the sense from watching this that Sandusky wants to confess but prevents himself from flat out admitting his guilt.  Just an absolutely disgusting interview, though Costas deserves kudos for allowing Sandusky to hang himself with his responses.

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8 Responses to The Sandusky Interview

Was Lincoln a Reluctant Abolitionist?

Tuesday, November 15, AD 2011

 

 

Lincoln was first and foremost a politician, and the sincerity of politicians is always subject to question, but it is impossible after examining his speeches and private letters not to be convinced of his deep and abiding hatred of slavery.

His attitude towards slavery was well set forth in the following letter to A.G. Hodges on April 4, 1864:

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19 Responses to Was Lincoln a Reluctant Abolitionist?

  • Lincoln, like many politicians before and after, essentially supported the resettlement of blacks to Africa, which in hindsight would have been a better course than that which followed.

    The following link offers some perspective:

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v13/v13n5p-4_Morgan.html

  • Abraham Lincoln displayed precious little reluctance to killing 600,000 Americans.

  • Henry Clay was in favor of it along with many others. It was a completely idiotic idea as the cost would have been astronomical, there was no suitable land available in Africa for such large scale colonization and blacks were unwilling to go. Lincoln was always in favor of colonization if it was voluntary and in the Civil War it became apparent that the idea was completely impractical.

  • “No suitable land in Africa?” It’s the world’s second largest continent. As for the “cost being astronomical,” it would have been better to pay it than to lose 600,000 lives to “free” them. Today’s racial divide is as wide as ever and the assimilation of black into a white culture has been an abysmal failure.

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  • No suitable land Joe. American freed men transplanted to Liberia died like flies, which was one of several reasons why colonization was so unpopular among blacks. From1825-1867 a grand total of 13,000 former American slaves immigrated to Liberia. The idea that this was ever going to solve the problem of slavery in this country was idiotic in the extreme. Needless to say, most slave owners were completely opposed to any government purchasing their slaves and resettling them in Africa in any case. The whole concept was nothing more than a pipe dream.

  • “Abraham Lincoln displayed precious little reluctance to killing 600,000 Americans.”

    Yes, T.Shaw, it was all Lincoln’s fault that in order to maintain the precious civil right of holding other humans in bondage, Southern states seceded, and then it was Lincoln’s fault that they started a War that they were bound to lose.

  • On January 26, 1849 black abolitionist Frederick Douglass gave voice to the general feeling among American blacks about colonization proposals:

    “In view of this proposition, we would respectfully suggest to the assembled wisdom of the nation, that it might be well to ascertain the number of free colored people who will be likely to need the assistance of government to help them out of this country to Liberia, or elsewhere, beyond the limits of these United States—since this course might save any embarrassment which would result from an appropriation more than commensurate to the numbers who might be disposed to leave this, our own country, for one we know not of. We are of the opinion that the free colored people generally mean to live in America, and not in Africa; and to appropriate a large sum for our removal, would merely be a waste of the public money. We do not mean to go to Liberia. Our minds are made up to live here if we can, or die here if we must; so every attempt to remove us will be, as it ought to be, labor lost. Here we are, and here we shall remain. While our brethren are in bondage on these shores, it is idle to think of inducing any considerable number of the free colored people to quit this for a foreign land.

    For two hundred and twenty-eight years has the colored man toiled over the soil of America, under a burning sun and a driver’s lash—plowing, planting, reaping, that white men might roll in ease, their hands unhardened by labor, and their brows unmoistened by the waters of genial toil; and now that the moral sense of mankind is beginning to revolt at this system of foul treachery and cruel wrong, and is demanding its overthrow, the mean and cowardly oppressor is meditating plans to expel the colored man entirely from the country. Shame upon the guilty wretches that dare propose, and all that countenance such a proposition. We live here—have lived here—have a right to live here, and mean to live here.”

  • I view the IHR as a suspect site. See Wiki entry on IHR or their own page “about us” where they put the word “Holocaust” in scare quotes.

  • Indeed Bob. They are a bevy of Holocaust deniers and “You know, Adolph really wasn’t that bad!” It has a colorful history:

    http://www.leonardzeskind.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=54&Itemid=27

  • I deleted your last comment Joe. This blog has zero tolerance for holocaust deniers and bashers of Jews.

  • Mr McClarey,

    You don’t have to be a holocaust denier or anti-semite to wonder about the wisdom of the Civil War and Abraham’s Lincoln’s part in it. As T. Shaw mentions above, the loss of over 600,000 American lives to have this fight, strikes me as a hard number to justify. Of course, I realize that no one knew it would take that many. But still, some of the blame surely belongs to Mr. Lincoln for those deaths.

    This is not to mention the utter havoc thrown upon the land as the war destroyed social fabric along with house and farm and town. The reintroduction of total war into civilized nations was also a grave consquence that resulted from this war.

    Would it have been so bad to see the southern states go there own way and create another version of America based on it’s own unique genius?

    The cause of this war is much deeper than most realize but the consequences are also deeper. I don’t know that that has been explored fully enough.

    Is the autonomous freedom that eventually came to slaves and likely would have come anyway within a few years due to technology, worth the cost of all the dead and wounded, the utterly destroyed social structure, the changed nature the Constitution, and the loss of the check on the central state that the individual sovereign states had been. Was it worth all that to throw the slaves off the land.

    I honestly don’t know.

  • We have fought and re-fought the merits of the Civil War on what seems like a semi-weekly basis. This post has nothing to do with the worthiness of fighting the war, but rather concentrates solely on Lincoln’s feelings with regards to slavery. Can we please return focus to that? Thank you.

  • I have no doubt that Lincoln was “personally opposed” to slavery. But he also knew that there was no Constitutional authority for the Federal government to interfere with the practice. The sad thing is, despite this knowledge, he cynically seized on emancipation as a war aim when the war was not going particularly well for the Union. Thus was an already Constitutionally suspect war to preserve the “Union” (yes, “scare” quotes, because a Union at the point of a bayonet is not much of a union) transformed into a war to free slaves, an aim which Lincoln himself knew was not constiutionally permissible.

    Thus we have the first large example in our history of Federal unconstitutional overreaching. That it occurred for an otherwise good cause should not blind us to the hazardous precedent it set.

  • Thus we have the first large example in our history of Federal unconstitutional overreaching.

    Thomas Jefferson doubled the size of the United States overnight with the Louisiana Purchase – an action of such constitutional dubiousness that Jefferson contemplated submitting a constitutional amendment before his advisers suggested that it was inconvenient as it would doom the purchase.

    Fifty years later Chief Justice Taney handed down his decision in Dred Scott v. Sanford, a decision far removed from both the constitutional text and even the context of the case that was before him – kind of like how your comment and Tim’s are not exactly germane to the topic of the original post. But we can’t have Lincoln’s name be mentioned on this blog without some carping from the usual corners, now can we?

  • I don’t doubt Lincoln’s personal convictions against slavery… he was not the only person who held these views, others like R. E. Lee also held them.

    It is just fairness to history and accuracy not to deify a man who, for whatever subjectively good reasons he may have had, ignored the Constitution when it suited him to do so.

    So, it IS germane to the topic: yes, Lincoln was an abolitionist, no he was not a reluctant one. He believed in it so much he ultimately surrended Constitutional government to the principle, and bathed the nation in blood.

  • No Tom, the ones who attempted to overthrow the constitution, in order to perpetuate slavery forever, were the secessionists, and Lincoln led the Union forces to victory to preserve the Constitution along with the Union. The ironic thing is that Lincoln was no threat to slavery where it existed in the states, so the Confederacy was created to fight against a non-existent threat to the Peculiar Institution.

  • The constitution is not what we wish it to be or imagine it to be; it is a written, clear document. Either it is followed in a particular circumstance or not.

    I can see no provision of the Constitution forbidding secession to the states. I can also find no provision authorizing the president to gather armies and invade the states militarily. Since the constitution is one of express, delegated powers with respect to the federal government, one must point to a provision of the constitution authorizing a president to invade several states, kill their citizens, blockade their ports.

    I submit you will not find such authority in an express provision of the constitution.

    On the other hand, you will equally find no provision forbidding the states from seceding. What power is not expressly ceded to the federal government is maintained by the state. There is no provision whereby the states ceded the power of withdrawing from the Union.

    These are fairly simple, unremarkable observations. We are supposed to be a government of law, not men. Lincoln upset that by ignoring the Constitution and invading the south.

    You may like that Lincoln did what he did, or believe it was required by some kind of necessity, or had good results that outweighed ignoring the constitution for a time, but it cannot be imagined that it was done consistent with the express terms of the constitution.

  • In order for a right of secession to exist Tom it would have to be expressly set forth in the Constitution. The Founding Fathers of the Confederacy clearly agreed with that contention, since they rejected, when drafting the Confederate Constitution, a right of secession to be set forth as called for by the South Carolina delegates. It is difficult to read a right of secession into the Federal Constitution when it contains the following provision:

    “Section 10
    No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation;”

    Why put such a provision into the Constitution if states could leave the Union at will? Additionally, other than the 13 colonies, all the other states, except Texas, were created by the Federal government under the Constitution. How could these creations of the Federal government have any existence apart from it? James Madison, the father of the Constitution, held that no right to secession existed. On the theoretical question of secession, I will defer to Robert E. Lee.

    “Secession is nothing but revolution. The framers of our Constitution never exhausted so much labor, wisdom, and forbearance in its formation, and surrounded it with so many guards and securities, if it was intended to be broken by every member of the Confederacy at will. It was intended for “perpetual union,” so expressed in the preamble, and for the establishment of a government, not a compact, which can only be dissolved by revolution or the consent of all the people in convention assembled. It is idle to talk of secession. Anarchy would have been established, and not a government, by Washington, Hamilton, Jefferson, Madison, and the other patriots of the Revolution. . . . Still, a Union that can only be maintained by swords and bayonets, and in which strife and civil war are to take the place of brotherly love and kindness, has no charm for me. I shall mourn for my country and for the welfare and progress of mankind. If the Union is dissolved, and the government disrupted, I shall return to my native state and share the miseries of my people; and, save in defense, will draw my sword on none.”

    http://almostchosenpeople.wordpress.com/2010/03/14/lee-on-secession/

    As for rebellion, the Constitution gives the Federal government power to act under Section 8:

    “To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union,
    suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;”
    The Insurrection Act of 1807 gives the President the following power:

    “Whenever the President considers that unlawful obstructions, combinations, or assemblages, or rebellion against the authority of the United States, make it impracticable to enforce the laws of the United States in any State or Territory by the ordinary course of judicial proceedings, he may call into Federal service such of the militia of any State, and use such of the armed forces, as he considers necessary to enforce those laws or to suppress the rebellion.”

    When it comes to the Civil War, I am always happy to debate these issues on behalf of Lincoln and the Union from a legal standpoint because I believe their case is strong. In a larger sense, I agree with these sentiments of another Confederate general John B. Gordon:

    “And the repeated manifestations of General Grant’s truly great qualities–his innate modesty, his freedom from every trace of vain-glory or ostentation, his magnanimity in victory, his genuine sympathy for his brave and sensitive foemen, and his inflexible resolve to protect paroled Confederates against any assault, and vindicate, at whatever cost, the sanctity of his pledge to the van-quished-will give him a place in history no less renowned and more to be envied than that secured by his triumphs as a soldier or his honors as a civilian. The Christian invocation which came from his dying lips, on Mount McGregor, summoning the spirit of peace and unity and equality for all of his countrymen, made a fitting close to the life of this illustrious American. Scarcely less prominent in American annals than the record of these two lives, should stand a catalogue of the thrilling incidents which illustrate the nobler phase of soldier life so inadequately described in these reminiscences. The unseemly things which occurred in the great conflict between the States should be forgotten, or at least forgiven, and no longer permitted to disturb complete harmony between North and South. American youth in all sections should be taught to hold in perpetual remembrance all that was great and good on both sides; to comprehend the inherited convictions for which saintly women suffered and patriotic men died; to recognize the unparalleled carnage as proof of unrivalled courage; to appreciate the singular absence of personal animosity and the frequent manifestation between those brave antagonists of a good-fellowship such as had never before been witnessed between hostile armies. It will be a glorious day for our country when all the children within its borders shall learn that the four years of fratricidal war between the North and the South was waged by neither with criminal or unworthy intent, but by both to protect what they conceived to be threatened rights and imperilled liberty; that the issues which divided the sections were born when the Republic was born, and were forever buried in an ocean of fraternal blood. We shall then see that, under God’s providence, every sheet of flame from the blazing rifles of the contending armies, every whizzing shell that tore through the forests at Shiloh and Chancellorsville, every cannon-shot that shook Chickamauga’s hills or thundered around the heights of Gettysburg, and all the blood and the tears that were shed are yet to become contributions for the upbuilding of American manhood and for the future defence of American freedom. The Christian Church received its baptism of pentecostal power as it emerged from the shadows of Calvary, and went forth to its world-wide work with greater unity and a diviner purpose. So the Republic, rising from its baptism of blood with a national life more robust, a national union more complete, and a national influence ever widening, shall go forever forward in its benign mission to humanity.”

Now Why Can’t We Have Political Scandals Like This?

Monday, November 14, AD 2011

Larry the Cat, mouser at No. 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the British Prime Minister, is facing calls for his resignation:

British Prime Minister David Cameron is resisting some calls for the resignation of 10 Downing Street’s official mouse catcher Larry, in the wake of the scandalous recent appearance of an uninvited mouse at a recent official government dinner.

Downing Street brought on the 4-year-old Larry last year to help combat a growing rodent problem after TV broadcast cameras caught the image of a “large rat” promenading through the seat of British government.

Like many a professional spinmeister, a spokesman for Cameron’s  government stressed past performance over present-day scandal-mongering. Larry has caught three mice since his services were first employed in February, the spokesman said, and reiterated that he would not be relinquishing his post. The Cameron spokesman also gamely tried to change the subject, noting that “Larry brings a lot of pleasure to a lot of people.”

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Red Skelton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and One Nation Under God

Monday, November 14, AD 2011

Red Skelton and his unforgettable rendition of the Pledge of Allegiance.  Skelton rose out of abject poverty to become one of the great comedians of his time.  His comment about the phrase “under God”  reminds us how deeply this phrase is embedded in American history:

The addition of “under God” to the pledge of allegiance in 1954 of course echoes this sentence from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address:

“It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

The Pledge was altered with that phrase of Lincoln’s specifically in mind.  The Knights of Columbus played an important role in getting the pledge changed, beginning in 1951 to say the Pledge with the phrase “under God” inserted at all Knights of Columbus functions.

Lincoln probably recalled the phrase from George Washington’s use of it in his order to the Continental Army on August 27, 1776 before the battle of Long Island:

The time is now near at hand which must probably determine whether Americans are to be freemen or slaves; whether they are to have any property they can call their own; whether their houses and farms are to be pillaged and destroyed, and themselves consigned to a state of wretchedness from which no human efforts will deliver them. The fate of unborn millions will now depend, under God, on the courage and conduct of this army. Our cruel and unrelenting enemy leaves us only the choice of brave resistance, or the most abject submission. We have, therefore, to resolve to conquer or die.

 

 

 

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4 Responses to Red Skelton, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and One Nation Under God

The Declaration of Independence as Law

Monday, November 14, AD 2011

Debates sometimes arise as to whether the Declaration of Independence is law. The Declaration isn’t law as a law saying go on green and stop on red is, although it is set forth under the United States Code.  It is much more important than that.  It is one of the essential building blocks of what we as a people believe.  It has been held to be such in numerous decisions of the United States Supreme Court and I cite one of them below:

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5 Responses to The Declaration of Independence as Law

  • Somewhere in the US Constitution it says something about bon homme Whomever will be deprived “life, liberty or property” without “due process.”

    The rub: Central planners, collectivists, control economists invented brave, new definitions of “due process”, as in you have what you have if the regime allows . . .

    Seems some liberal genius’ (e.g., the #OccupyWallStreet crowd) idea of “greater good” trumps “life, liberty, happiness.”

    There just ain’t enough bullets.

  • Nah, I think I’ll pass on using the Declaration as an adjunct Constitution, since it was not intended as a governing document, not received as such, and much mischief ensues when courts begin parsing out philosophical statements such as “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

    Courts need to stick to interpreting legislation according to the plain meaning of the law, the orginal intent of the drafters, and if, and only if, necessary, examining whether a given law is in accord with the Constitution, again, according to its plain meaning and original understanding.

    There’s been enough trouble keeping judges to these simple principles. Inviting them to look to an extra-legal source like the Declaration is to invite even more of the same.

  • As a matter of judicial interpretation Tom, I would agree with you. If I were a legislator however, the Declaration would be one of my guiding stars in carrying out my duties.

  • I also agree with Tom, and would note that Don makes an insightful distinction, and one I admit I never considered. Good on you both.

  • Ditto Mike on dittoing Don and Tom.

6 Responses to Try, Try and Try Again Open Thread

  • Is it common practice to pierce a baby’s ears?

  • I have seen it done once, in 1975.

  • I see a lot of infant girls with pierced ears among my Hispanic brothers and sisters.

    “Bottom line” answers please:

    “Who made you?”

    “Why did He make you?”

    “How will you get into Heaven?”

    I am looking (every time want something I cannot locate it) for my Baltimore Catechism. GRRR. My wife understands: the beatings will continue until my morale improves.

    I’m cheating. Father McCartney gave us the answer to number three at the 7:30 Mass.

  • Open thread? – Well I need some counselling as a Jet fan watching this game… they may still win by why does the Sanchize always give me grief…

  • So this is the old, “If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again”.

    When I was doing roofing work in the hot Australian sun a few decades ago, I had my own version.
    “If at first you don’t succeed, give up in disgust, go to the pub, and give it another crack tomorrow!” 🙂
    Nothing like a couple of beers to solve the problem you are encountering. 😉 Always worked. I guess that wouldn’t work for the little dog though.

    Wouldn’t like to see the condition of the bedding after that little dog’s claws have been trying to get a grip on it!.

  • “Cute-n-Fuzzy” my eye. That creature has “GET IN MY BELLY!!!” written all over it. What was that line in the old tootsie roll pop commercial?

    ‘Sibling’ rivalry… red in gum and claw.

Not One Thin Dime

Sunday, November 13, AD 2011

Well, I see at Mass this morning an insert was placed in the bulletin for the annual appeal for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, and therefore it is time for me to renew my annual request that no Catholic contribute one thin dime to this pernicious and wrong-headed begathon.  Despite window dressing efforts at reform, the CCHD is still in the business of handing out money, given by good-hearted Catholics who think they are contributing money to help people down on their luck, to left-wing pressure groups, many of whom espouse causes directly contrary to the teachings of the Church.  Go here to the website of the group Reform CCHD now to get the details.  Here is their summary regarding last year’s grants, after the CCHD had been ostensibly reformed:

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12 Responses to Not One Thin Dime

  • Is that last question a trick question?

    Here is my question: “What makes those pro-abortion “catholics” tick?

  • Mr. McClarey, I agree that the persistent support of a corrupt ‘charity’ is baffling.

    I believe that last year a few bishops opted out of soliciting donations to the fund
    in their dioceses. I hope more follow suit this year. However, one has to marvel at
    the fecklessness of our bishop’s conference– they’re repeatedly busted funneling
    money to subsidize groups that seek to undermine the Church’s teachings, so they
    promise reforms but end up with an even greater amount of money going to these
    anti-Catholic groups! Who is running this goat rodeo?

    Last year I received a slickly produced brochure promoting the CCHD, mailed to me
    by my diocese. It was carefully worded to give the impression that donations went
    to help local charities, and nowhere mentioned that the bulk of donations collected
    are forwarded on to fund ‘community organizers’ and ‘social action groups’. Since
    we just got a new bishop, and this letter was being sent out not in his name but rather
    by the woman heading the diocese’s ‘social justice’ office, I simply chucked the thing.

    If it happens again this year, I’m making my feelings known to the chancery and at
    my parish, and I’m encouraging friends to do the same. As it is, now I ignore any
    appeals from the USCCB or my own bishop, simply because my trust that my
    money will actually go to support the Church has evaporated. I support charities I
    know.

    I cannot imagine Planned Parenthood being so lackadaisical that they would repeatedly
    funnel money to pro-life groups, even after their supporters busted them for it each
    year. Evil as they are, they have more clarity and sense of purpose than to tolerate
    anyone in the organization who would so undermine their core principles. Absurd as
    it sounds at first, our bishops need to look to Planned Parenthood for some lessons
    in dedication to a cause.

  • One does get the impression that the staff of the U.S. Catholic Conference and the diocesan chanceries are bureaucratic perpetual motion machines which operate without much in the way of a mind.

  • Had the same problem here a couple of years ago WRT Amnesty International. A well meaning woman turned up at Friday midday Mass colecting for them. I really don’t think she knew that AI had gone pro-abortion. I spoke to my PP who appeared not to know about it either, so he asked me to keep an eye out and prevent anyone collecting or giving to AI.

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  • I think most in chanceries around the country know what’s going on and they support it wholeheartedly. That’s the problem. Just got a copy of my old diocesan paper. This is the paper that has the bishop as the publisher. Had an article about the pain parents suffer when they discover their child is gay. The pain isn’t the life of sin their children are in but the response of others to their “lifestyle.” Many talked about the grace that was brought to their families by their actively gay children.

    Bottom line, many in positions of power in the Church agree with what the organizations they fund support.

  • I think most in chanceries around the country know what’s going on and they support it wholeheartedly.

    I suspect the same thing has happened to philanthropic concerns of all types. They attract and retain a generic sort whose common denominator is a disinclination to work for a commercial enterprise (commercial enterprises having operational measures of collective competence). That sort of person tends to have cloying attitudes about sexual deviance and is readily gulled by con artists like Wesley Cook (a.k.a ‘Mumia abu Jamal’, political prisoner per Amnesty International).

  • The archdiocese of DC did the collection sometime this summer. The week before the collection I happened to be attending a Tridentine Mass near my house celebrated by the Pastor of my parish. He made the announcement of the collection with an expression that very well signaled his disgust. It made me very happy to belong to his parish.

  • In the Diocese of Scranton, the collection was transferred from the Sunday before Thanksgiving to the last Sunday in January. The claim has been that a portion of the collection would be used to help “immigrant families” residing in the diocese, as well as contributing on the national level to “help those in poverty”. I’d say it’s another way of the bishop turning a blind eye to where the money is actually going. It seems those who support it will acknowledge that some of the funding goes to organizations that are in direct opposition to the Church, yet still believe it’s a necessary evil for the sake of “social justice”. CCHD gets not one penny from me, until they clean up their act.

  • Would this be an example of the “enemy within”? I tend to think so. No faithful Catholic should give one red cent to the CCHD. I agree with Voris that the people in the pews need to end this. But if our priests display ignorance or worse how can we properly teach the laity the truth?

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  • Well, I followed your advice and contributed nothing to this week’s second collection for CCHD. I’ll need to do my homework now and prove to myself I did the right thing.

First American Saint

Sunday, November 13, AD 2011

“Although her constitution was very frail, her spirit was endowed with such singular strength that, knowing the will of God in her regard, she permitted nothing to impede her from accomplishing what seemed beyond the strength of a woman.”

Pius XII

The first American citizen to be canonized as a saint of the Roman Catholic Church was born on July 15, 1850 in Saint Angelo Lodigiano, in the Lombardy region of a then disunited Italy.  One of 13 children, Francesca Cabrini was born to her mother, who was then 52 years old, two months premature, and it was touch and go for a while as to whether the new baby would live.  Her health would be precarious all of her life, which, considering what she accomplished, should be a standing rebuke to those of us blessed with good health.

She studied for five years at a school run by the Daughters of the Sacred Heart.  Her hearts desire was to be a missionary.  When she applied to enter a convent at age 18, however, she was turned down due to her health.  Nothing daunted, she returned to her home to help her parents on their farm.  A terrible small pox epidemic took the lives of her parents and almost took hers, but she was nursed back to health by her sister Rosa.  Almost miraculously she suffered no disfigurement from the small pox.

Taking a job as a substitute teacher at a nearby village, she taught with such skill and with such obvious love and concern for her pupils, that the rector of her parish, Father Antonio Serrati, who was to become a lifelong friend and advisor of hers, placed her in charge of an orphanage for girls in the parish, the House of Providence.  She was twenty-four at the time and she was presented with no easy task.  The orphanage was known as the House of Providence.  It had been set up by two well-meaning, but incompetent, laywomen, and it was badly organized and visibly failing.  In six years Francesca turned it around, winning the affection of the young girls in the orphanage through the care she showed to them.  While at the orphanage she took vows as a nun, and seven of her girls followed her example and became nuns and helped her run the orphanage.  Here for the first time we see the managerial skill with which Mother Cabrini, as she became universally known, was so gifted.

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2 Responses to First American Saint

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  • Interesting article. I’ve been thinking about this subject recently. I’m no fan of nationalistic religion, but I really like the way regions of Europe have patron saints. I think it’d be great if/when America develops its own regional devotions. You drive through any diocese in the US and you’ll find your St. Patricks and St. Casimirs, patrons of old homelands. And it seems like every ugly church in America is named after Thomas More (which is a function of when he was canonized, I guess). But there’s no pride of New England or patron of Ohio. There is Our Lady of Guadalupe, but that devotion seems to have taken on an ethnic dimension. I don’t know if what I’m saying makes any sense, or if it’s just another way of saying that Americans don’t have a common culture, but I sense it would be a good thing for Catholics in America.

9 Responses to Dogface Soldier

  • Puleeze . . . they have re-written this song. It used to say, “On all the posters that I read it says the Army builds men,” not “be all that you can,” and the final line used to be “Your dog face solder boy’s ok,” not whatever it is now. This is historical revisionism in the name of political correctness. Audie would be appalled . . .

  • Here are the original lyrics to the song:

    I Wouldn’t Give A Bean
    To Be A Fancy Pants Marine,
    I’d rather Be A Dogface Soldier Like I Am.

    I Wouldn’t Trade My Old O.D.’s
    For All The Navy’s Dungarees
    For I’m The Walking Pride Of Uncle Sam;

    On All The Posters That I Read
    It Says The Army Builds Men
    So They’re Tearing Me Down To Build Me Over Again

    I’m Just A Dogface Soldier
    With A Rifle On My Shoulder
    And I Eat A Kraut For Breakfast Everyday.

    So Feed Me Ammunition,
    Keep Me In The Third Division,
    Your Dogfaced Soldier Boy’s Okay.

    The current lyrics have been in use in the Third Division since the eighties.

  • Start at 22:18 for a “spirited” rendition of Dogface Soldier in the movie To Hell and Back:

  • “be all you can be” was the Army’s recruting slogan in the 1980’s

  • “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.”

    As I sit here, three brave Afghan war veterans (still on active duty) sleep in the next room.

  • I also recall the winner Hank, “Today’s Army Wants to Join You!”

    Ah, military life bears as much relationship to most recruitment posters as spam does to a fine steak!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=diWtQkJwLwE&feature=related

  • Don

    I alwas hated that one.

    In the 80’s the Army Reserve’s slogan was “soon you will wish it is more than one weekend a month” Times have changed.

  • I believe now Hank many a National Guard Armory has a sign saying “One weekend a month my a–” Military service, or servitude as one of my green wearing colleagues used to refer to it, always requires a well-developed sense of humor.

  • I’m sure that the men on the ground in the military have a much bawdier version than those we hear publicly, but – at the risk of being laughed at – I think the US soldiers songs are more gentlemanly than the Kiwi or ANZAC songs – there seems to be only the bawdy version down here, and that’s going back to WW1 !!

Veterans Day: John 15:13

Friday, November 11, AD 2011

“When You Go Home, Tell Them Of Us And Say, For Their Tomorrow, We Gave Our Today”

Epitaph on the Memorial to the dead of the British 2nd Division at Kohima

War is a curious part of the human condition.  It is a summary of the worst that Man is capable of:  violence on a massive scale, cruelty, greed, hatred, and the magnification of every human vice.  Few of us are more “anti-war” than those who have had the misfortune to fight in one and witnessed all the folly, loss and endless pain produced by the inability of men to frequently resolve their differences without resort to the sword.  Yet, in war we also see men rise to the heights of what we are capable of at our best:  self-sacrifice, courage, love and the magnification of every human virtue.  War as the direst of human institutions is to be bitterly regretted, but we must ever pay homage to those who find themselves in this terrible maelstrom and acquit themselves with honor.

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One Response to Veterans Day: John 15:13

  • “Greet them ever with grateful hearts.” Chapter Heading, The Doughboys by Laurence Stallings

    Our soldier drove in from Fort Benning, GA (Uncles Sam’s School for Wayward Boys) at about 0400 hours this AM.

    He (CIB, airborne ranger infantry) spent 2009 in Afghanistan. It was hard year for his Mother, too. “They also serve who only sit and wait.”

    The POG’s at #OccupyFail talk about the 1%. These heroes are the 0.45% that deserve our blessings and gratitude this day and every day.

Jack Webb Wishes A Belated 236th Happy Birthday to the Corps

Friday, November 11, AD 2011

 

 

 

 

On November 10, 1775 the Continental Congress passed this resolution authored by John Adams:

“Resolved, That two battalions of Marines be raised consisting of one colonel, two lieutenant-colonels, two majors, and other officers, as usual in other regiments; that they consist of an equal number of privates with other battalions; that particular care be taken that no persons be appointed to office, or enlisted into said battalions but such as are good seamen, or so acquainted with maritime affairs as to be able to serve with advantage by sea when required; that they be enlisted and commissioned to serve for and during the present War with Great Britain and the colonies, unless dismissed by order of Congress; that they be distinguished by names of First and Second Battalions of American Marines, and that they be considered as part of the number which the Continental Army before Boston is ordered to consist of.”

The Marines have fought in all our wars and by their conduct have lived up to this description of the Corps:

“No better friend, no worse enemy.”

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One Response to Jack Webb Wishes A Belated 236th Happy Birthday to the Corps

  • The US Marines have a tradition of honor. Our leaders have decided to tarnish that tradition by requiring the US Marines to allow homosexuals to openly serve in the US Marine Corps. The Marines are supposed to be the ones to fight for right and freedom. Homosexual behavior is not right.

Does This Surprise Anyone?

Thursday, November 10, AD 2011

 

Hattip to commenter RL for alerting me to this.  Father Z directs us to Chiesa for some information about the confusion surrounding the release of Towards Reforming the International Financial & Monetary Systems in the Context of Global Public Authority:

Over at Chiesa, there is a piece about the new, confused “white paper”, as I prefer to call it, from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

Too Much Confusion. Bertone Puts the Curia Under Lock and Key

The document of “Iustitia et Pax” on the global financial crisis is blasted with criticism. The secretary of state disowns it. “L’Osservatore Romano” tears it to shreds. From now on, any new Vatican text will have to be authorized in advance by the cardinal [Imagine!  The left hand knowing what the left hand is doing!]

by Sandro Magister

ROME, November 10, 2011 – Precisely when the G20 summit in Cannes was coming to its weak and uncertain conclusion, on that same Friday, November 4 at the Vatican, a smaller summit convened in the secretariat of state was doing damage control on the latest of many moments of confusion in the Roman curia. [You would think they’d be getting good at damage control.]

In the hot seat was the document on the global financial crisis released ten days earlier by the pontifical council for justice and peace. A document that had disturbed many, inside and outside of the Vatican.

The secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, complained that he had not known about it until the last moment. And precisely for this reason he had called that meeting in the secretariat of state.  [But… wait.  That means he saw it before it was released.  Or did I get that wrong?]

The conclusion of the summit was that this binding order would be transmitted to all of the offices of the curia: from that point on, nothing in writing would be released unless it had been inspected and authorized by the secretariat of state.  [Interesting in principle, I suppose.  But the Secretariat of State is already the über-dicastery of all dicasteries.  Perhaps the Suprema, the CDF ought to be involved.]

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16 Responses to Does This Surprise Anyone?

  • I am a bit surprised, actually. I’d been ready to assume this was a case where a lot of the Vatican was caught up in a way of thinking I just think is wrong — though since it’s not a doctrinal issue I don’t necessarily see that as a problem.

    Instead it seems like the dictum that one should never attribute to wrongness what can instead be attributed to glaring incompetence comes into play.

  • The Vatican has no special competence to advise on the manner in which financial transactions should be conducted. At best it should maintain that business should be conducted with good faith and integrity. But this does not allow the bureaucrats to carry on about mysterious banking interests – never the ones who handle the Vatican’s own financial interests – and the plutocrats. In any transaction there are at least two parties; in the moral universe inhabited by these people it is never the fault of the borrower that a loan goes into default – that he had borrowed recklessly beyond his means, that he had in many cases made false representations as in the case of Greece. No only the lender is liable, he is the only moral agent here; the borrower a mere babe in the woods. There is nothing Christian about such an ethic; it is simple granstanding and tasteless to boot, coming from such an ancient institution.

  • As St. Josemaria Escriva wrote: “When a priest speaks about politics, he is wrong.”

  • Considering the parts that caused controversy were direct quotes or applications of Caritas in Veritate, I’m thinking there is not really a disagreement in substance as is being implied. Most commentary in agreement with the “white paper” grounded its legitimacy in its agreement with previous encyclicals and teaching and not just that it came forth from a Vatican agency. Fr Z might be more aware of this if he actually visited his home diocese on occasion rather than living on a pastoral estate in Wausau playing on the Internet and living off a right wing sinecure for the past 10 years.

  • Refuse to engage with the Magister article: check.

    Attack Father Z personally: check.

  • Heh. Exactly.

    Directly from Magister’s article:

    But more than these terrible grades, what has been even more irritating for many authoritative readers of the document of the pontifical council for justice and peace is the fact that it is in glaring contradiction with Benedict XVI’s encyclical “Caritas in Veritate.”

    In the encyclical, pope Joseph Ratzinger does not in any way call for a “public authority with universal competency” over politics and the economy, that sort of great Leviathan (no telling who gets the throne, or how) so dear to the document of October 24.

    In “Caritas in Veritate” the pope speaks more properly of the “governance” (meaning regulation, “moderamen” in Latin) of globalization, through subsidiary and polyarchic institutions. Nothing at all like a monocratic world government.

  • Magister’s opinion on the analogous nature of passages is worth what you paid for it.

    Heh and other obnoxious mumblings.

  • What’s even funnier than MZ’s avoidance of the inconvenience of Magister’s article is that his non sequiter ad homimen against Fr. Z doesn’t even make sense. It’s disappointing, actually. MZ used to put his heart into his inane ramblings, but this seemed like a perfunctory effort lacking in spirit. It’s a shame to see a master lose his touch.

  • So your claim is that the Note and CV are substantially the same in re world government and your support for this is that we should take your non-expert opinion over Magister’s (which is based on interviewing top Vatican sources). Yeah…

    And that’s aside from the tear apart which L’Osservatore Romano ran on the economic analysis in the note.

  • You are free to take anyone’s opinion you would like. Neither I nor anyone else is obligated to take a tabloid reporter’s opinion. When people go on record, I might accept their authority.

    So now you give a rip what’s in L’Osservatore. I must confess there is the faint appearance of authority shopping going on.

  • The only authority shopping I’m seeing here is that now that the Vatican Secretary of State and L’Osservatore Romano have come out basically discounting and contradicting the Note, the people who have been on their high horse for the last couple weeks are all “nothing to see here”. Somehow I don’t see your co-writers retracting any of the posts about “right wing” heretics and dissidents from the last little while — but it’s evident that the level of disagreement with this Note which the Vatican is comfortable in publishing itself is rather higher than level which some self appointed champions of orthodoxy (who were all too ready to shop around the “Pope joins the OWS” meme) were willing to tolerate.

    In a sense, I’m all the more annoyed in that I bothered to read the thing and admit where I clearly didn’t see eye to eye with it. I suppose, if nothing else, it’s a good lesson that if something seems too silly or trivial to be “Church teaching” rather than getting all searching about it, one should assume that it in fact is.

  • “…if nothing else, it’s a good lesson that if something seems too silly or trivial to be “Church teaching” rather than getting all searching about it, one should assume that it in fact is.”

    Money quote of the week. 🙂

  • Generally speaking I’ve found Magister’s reporting to be highly reliable on Vatican affairs (whether it’s stuff I want to hear or don’t want to hear) and I haven’t particularly heard of the CNS writer. This certainly does provide everyone with a version they can enjoy, however.

    On Tedeschi’s L’Osservatore Romano article — it pretty clearly disagrees with both the account of the origins of the financial crisis given in the Note, and also with several of its suggestions (for instance, the transaction tax). It does not mention the note by name, but given how directly it seems to address its content I don’t see how one can interpret it as addressing anything else.

    At an absolute minimum, the conjunction of these two pieces seems to suggest that the reception of the Note has been as divided among Vatican sources/insiders as it has been among the US laity. Hardly reinforcement for the claim that this is the only acceptable way for Catholics to think. (Much less the idiotic “Pope Joins Occupy Wall Street line which Reese was peddling before the Note even came out.)

  • Traditionally the Vatican bureaucracy has been ridden with factions and infighting, but this is reaching Keystone Kops proportions. I wonder if this paper is one of the opening shots in preparation for the next conclave? It will be interesting to hear what Magister has to say about all this. I have no doubt he reported accurately what his sources told him, and his analysis of the factional infighting surrounding this paper in the Vatican would be both illuminating and highly amusing for those of us who do not mistake such ephemera as this with Holy Writ.

  • I’m just surprised that anyone of either political stripe would be particularly impressed by that document. The uncritical embrace of supra-national authority and centralized banking (particularly with the backdrop of the Euro imploding) sounded like the work of an over-earnest undergraduate in the early aughts. The economic analysis was, to put it mildly, based on highly disputed assumptions, and the eccentric recommendation of the Tobin tax (while a reasonable policy proposal for debate) is a rather down-in-the-weeds wonky detail for an otherwise ‘big picture’ document. I’m sure the authors were well intentioned; and, naturally, it wasn’t all bad. But it was pretty embarrassing all the same, and it’s hard for me to believe there wasn’t a little blushing going on even as it was seized upon as a tool for bludgeoning the dreaded conservative Catholics.

What Makes Those “Conservative Catholics” Tick?

Thursday, November 10, AD 2011

Every so often, a “seamless garment” Catholic demand to know why conservative Catholics do not adopt a position of de facto pacifism, oppose capital punishment just as much as abortion, and clap like a seal at the idea of a supranational world political authority as described in the recent Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace note and in Caritas in Veritate. I hope that this helpful outline will clear a bit of this up and explain why we conservative Catholics tend to act the way that we do.

Generally speaking, conservative Catholics have strong feelings about adherence to basic moral issues and doctrines as they have been constantly presented over a long period of time — with the one key distinction (being American, after all) that they’ll tend to be more sympathetic towards democracy and religious freedom than the official Church position 60+ years ago was.

As such, “right-wing” Catholics get upset about:

– condoning various sins relating to the modern culture of sexual license (contraception, abortion, adultery, fornication, divorce, homosexuality, pornography, etc.)

– denial (or creative questioning of) basic Catholic doctrines and scriptural interpretations including: what seems like denial of the real presence in the Eucharist; denial of the efficacy of the sacraments; questioning the historicity of the resurrection; questioning the existence of heaven, hell and purgatory; questioning the necessity, efficacy and supernatural nature of the seven sacraments; making odd claims about the trinity (saying the Holy Spirit is a woman, talking about God the Mother, etc.); questioning the all male priesthood; etc.

– liturgical innovation in senses that seem to break with the past or reduce the sacredness of the liturgy

They tend to go along less with issues that they see as being innovations or at odds with tradition Church teaching and practice. Thus:

– they have a hard time seeing capital punishment as suddenly being a huge problem now because the Church clearly allowed its use it the past. They may be willing to see it as counter productive or badly administered, but getting them stirred up against it as being as bad as or than than abortion, murder, etc. simply is not going to happen. In their minds, something can’t be okay yesterday but the ultimate evil today, no matter how effective the prison system.

– they don’t see the Church as endorsing absolute or de facto pacifism as the Church did not appear to do so in the past

– they don’t see the Church as absolutely endorsing some novel economic system significantly different from what has organically existed in the past. (Added note: Claiming that capitalism is some drastically new innovation and that for most of the past 2000 years something suspiciously like modern democratic socialism was the norm will generally not float well with them either. If anything, they’re likely to see the extreme regulation of trade by local princes and by powerful guilts as corruptions of the past, not as the best elements of the pre-modern economy. They may or may not be right on this, but generally speaking they’re no less educated about the past than their opponents, and often rather more familiar with it.)

– they don’t see how the Church could officially endorse something like the UN or a “supranational authority” when it a) isn’t Catholic and b) is very much a new thing. (By contrast, they don’t have a problem with the Holy League or the Crusades, even though these were clearly supranational organzations/movements endorsed by the Church — however somehow people excited about “supranational authorities” never call for another one of these.)

I hope this will be of help to all those who profess themselves confused.

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46 Responses to What Makes Those “Conservative Catholics” Tick?

  • Brilliant Darwin! The above fits me like a glove!

  • Bravo. I hope it will help those who profess themselves confused as well.

  • This was very good, Darwin, but being liberal, the seamless garment types are still not going to understand. One of my co-workers is of this variety. Intelligent conversation with him along these lines is impossible. It’s as though these people come from an entirely different planet.

  • They detract else they are unable to execute the conscience gymnastics necessary to justify supporing evil.

  • Excellent post Darwin!

    I also cracked a smile when I read this, “clap like a seal”.

    I like to laugh!

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  • “the Holy League or the Crusades, even though these were clearly supranational organizations/movements”.

    You fudge. What were they: organizations or movements?

    Obviously not organizations? We have our own supranational organization; we don’t need another.

  • A good conservative Catholic defense of slavery, absolute monarchy, and a married priesthood.

  • “A good conservative Catholic defense of slavery, absolute monarchy, and a married priesthood.”

    Strawman much, RR? Care to address what Darwin really said, rather than indulge in false associations?

  • Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility. Catechism of the Catholic Church 2265 Emphasis mine.

    Those in authority have a grave duty to protect the lives of others. The death penalty and Just are about leaders fulfilling their duty to protect those in their care. Hopefully, unnecessary alternatives, but if those in authorty have the right to use them and it is neccessary they are acting in accordance with the church’s teaching. A person who is in authority is always harming and never protecting those in his care when we permits or especially helps those committing abortion or euthanasia .

    Supporting a “position of de facto pacifism, oppose[ing] capital punishment just as much as abortion,” rips the so called seamless garment to shreds.

    Hank’s Eclectic Meanderings

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  • Like Gibbon, I don’t concern myself with opinions (Plato: Opinion is not truth.) that have no merit.

    Secular progressives passing off themselves as catholics employ de fact pacifism, opposition to the DP, and etc. and etc. to justify cooperating in 50,000,000 abortions and class hatred.

    I’m fairly convinced you won’t get into Heaven if you support abortion and hatred (of anyone).

    Here’s an example of a supra-national authority no one will want to copy: the Inquisition.

  • I suppose that my opposition to some of the political positions of the Church, primarily the “social justice” teachings stems from the fact that they might sound admirable, but they just don’t work! The Holy Father would like to see us more widely share the fruits of production, but experience teaches us that when someone doesn’t have to work and will be supported by the labor of others, far too frequently such a person chooses not to work.

    I am opposed to capital punishment, though, like so many people, it gets difficult to have much sympathy for the murderers who have earned it. And it should be pointed out that the Church is not morally opposed to capital punishment as an absolute; §2267 of the Catechism says:

    Assuming that the guilty party’s identity and responsibility have been fully determined, the traditional teaching of the Church does not exclude recourse to the death penalty, if this is the only possible way of effectively defending human lives against the unjust aggressor.

    If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person.

    Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”

    My opposition to capital punishment is based just as much on practical concerns: it demonstrates no particular deterrent effect on other crime, it is much more expensive than life imprisonment due to all of the added legal costs, and it is much easier to structure arguments against abortion when one doesn’t take the exception to allow capital punishment.

  • I actually find the Inquisition to be unfairly characterized by modernists. As a Catholic, I find nothing to apologize for. The Crusades either.

  • In school I had to read read H. C. Lea’s, The Inquisition of the Middle Ages. I kept it and read it again a few years ago. It was written before your new and improved scholars began “grinding axes” (the West, in general, and the Church, specifically, are the sources of all evil . . . ) instead of searching for Truth.

    I raised the Inquisition (I think) because progressive secularists (They choose the worldly over the Eternal) masquerading as catholics advance supranational organizations but they abhor other-worldly Catholic practices.

    The Inquisition’s raison d’etre was the salvation of souls (“If your hand offends cut it off. Better to enter Heaven without that hand.”). It’s methods: breaking bodies (based on Roman jurisprudence and medieval practice) run contrary to secular progressives’ modernist sensibilities.

    If I were utterly uncharitable, I would prefer that rascals don’t get into Heaven.

  • A good conservative Catholic defense of slavery, absolute monarchy, and a married priesthood.

    Huh? You’re usually more thoughtful and less jingoistic than this, RR.

    Though for the record:

    – Slavery was clearly frowned on by the Church throughout most of Christian history. It phased our fairly quickly after the Church came to power in the Roman Empire was was only allowed back in the late Renaissance, mostly in a misguided attempt to even the odds against the various Muslim powers in the Mediterranean, all of whom used slaves heavily to power their warships. Needless to say, that deal with the devil is a black mark on Church history, but if it was if anything more a brief innovation than a long term policy.

    – Absolute monarchy was another late Renaissance idea, and one which was mostly held by those seeking to minimize the Church’s influence in their kingdoms. It flourished for less then two hundred years, starting during the last quarter of Christendom’s history.

    – Secular priests were allowed to marry (off and on) through much of the first half of Church history in the West. If we were living in 1100 it would be “conservative” to support continuing to do so. However, there’s also been a strong history of celibate higher priests and monastic priests. Insisting on celibacy for all priests was basically just a matter of dropping the “second tier” of the priesthood.

  • Christian civilizations are the only civilizations ever to do away with slavery. Where Christian influence wanes I have no doubt slavery will stage a comeback, under a politically correct new name of course.

    Only someone who is completely ignorant of history could associate Catholicism and absolute monarchy. The Church has ever been the foe of an all powerful state. Our modern conception of a limited state owes much to the struggle of the Church against the overweening power of the State. Sadly we see this struggle resuming in our own land today thanks to policies of the Obama administration.

    Priestly celibacy was upheld as the ideal in the West from the time of Saint Augustine. The great reforming popes of the eleventh century waged an ultimately successful struggle against concubinage among the clergy.

  • At the same time, let me be clear, this piece wasn’t particularly designed to argue for any of these positions. My aim was simply to explain why conservative Catholics (among which, clearly, I number myself) respond to various issues the way they do.

  • Don once posted a pre-Civil War conservative defense of slavery.

    If you’re right about what makes conservative Catholics tick, then I reject conservative Catholicism, and more broadly conservatism. It’s a thought process that naturally lends itself to defending the indefensible for too long.

    But I support capital punishment and military interventions and while I also support international institutions, it’s limited support. Leaving international institutions to the side, my positions make me conservative but I don’t share your thought process at all. I adhere to an orthodox thought process which isn’t exactly the same thing. While mindful of the unintended consequences of radical change, they don’t weigh as heavily as it does in your brand of conservatism.

  • What I posted RR was a perversion of religion used to defend the indefensible, rather as in our time religion has sometimes been used to make a pro-abortion argument. What is notable in the history of the Church is the fact that slavery dissolves under its influence over time:

    1. Slavery in antiquity.

    2. Serfdom in the Middle Ages.

    3. Negro and Indian slavery.

    It is no accident, as the Marxists used to say, that Fascism and Communism, both of which attempted to revive slavery in a new guise, looked upon the Church as a deadly threat.

    As for conservatism defending the indefensible too long, you have to define what you mean by conservative. I get my conservatism from Edmund Burke, the Founding Fathers and Abraham Lincoln, all of whom fought against evils of their time. Too often people who are not conservatives assume that conservatives are simply reactionaries, and that is very far from the truth in regard to most American conservatives.

  • In the Burkean sense, I may not be conservative. Or maybe it’s just a difference of degree or emphasis. In modern parlance, my positions on most issues are, more or less, “conservative.” I get it from orthodox Catholic teaching and Milton Friedman. There’s an abstract imperfect philosophical connection between Burke and Friedman and I that may qualify all of us as conservatives. I believe in unintended consequences. IOW, the fallibility of man. But this isn’t giving a vote to ancestors or rejecting innovation.

  • Burke’s entire career has to be looked at as a whole RR. One of the things that has always struck me about Burke is his consistency, whether defending the rights of Irish and English Catholics, of the American colonists, of the Indians under British rule or attacking the tyranny of the French revolutionaries. He was always against arbitrary power and held that government could not simply uproot societies. One of the best accolades of Burke is that he aroused such fury from Karl Marx, in many ways the reverse of Burke:

    “The sycophant — who in the pay of the English oligarchy played the romantic laudator temporis acti against the French Revolution just as, in the pay of the North American colonies at the beginning of the American troubles, he had played the liberal against the English oligarchy — was an out-and-out vulgar bourgeois.”

    Marx could not refute Burke’s arguments so he simply lied about him, using the greatest swear word, “bourgeois”, at his command!

    The best summary I can think of regarding Burke and how he looked at government and society is this one from Reflections on the Revolution in France: “A man full of warm, speculative benevolence may wish his society otherwise constituted than he finds it, but a good patriot and a true politician always considers how he shall make the most of the existing materials of his country. A disposition to preserve and an ability to improve, taken together, would be my standard of a statesman. Everything else is vulgar in the conception, perilous in the execution.”

  • “Legitimate defense can be not only a right but a grave duty for one who is responsible for the lives of others. The defense of the common good requires that an unjust aggressor be rendered unable to cause harm. For this reason, those who legitimately hold authority also have the right to use arms to repel aggressors against the civil community entrusted to their responsibility.” Catechism of the Catholic Church 2265

    Are conservative Catholics claiming self-defense as the need to maintain capital punishment in the United States? Our society can certainly impose life sentences in lieu of the death penalty in order to achieve “defense of the common good.”

    Take Texas as an example, but I think this would apply to every state in the union. The state prison population is now roughly 171,000 and roughly half of them are in for violent crimes. Of the prisoners in Texas convicted of violent crimes, 308 prisoners are on death row. So why not simply hold the death row inmates for life and render them “unable to cause harm” that way? If we can, the Catechism says we should:

    “If, however, non-lethal means are sufficient to defend and protect people’s safety from the aggressor, authority will limit itself to such means, as these are more in keeping with the concrete conditions of the common good and more in conformity to the dignity of the human person. ” Catechism of the Catholic Church 2267

  • In my county Spambot in 1978 there was a prison riot in which three guards were murdered. Prisoners murder guards and other inmates regularly. Additionally there have been cases where incarcerated prisoners have ordered hits against individuals on the outside. The idea that incarceration can render individuals incapable of causing harm to others is simply not true.

  • Donald, you are right that prisoners continue to commit crimes in prison, but I fail to see how imposition of the death penalty necessarily makes prisoners and guards safer. Don’t you first need to establish that the inmates who tend to commit murder in prison are the one who should have been executed rather than be incarcerated?

  • No I do not Spambot. The argument is made that the death penalty is not needed because modern prisons can keep inmates from harming others. That is manifestly not the case. The burden is on those seeking to use this as an argument against the death penalty to establish that it is the case. Of course without the death penalty we have the grotesque situation arising every now and then of someone murdering a guard in prison being sentenced to prison for life, and being surrounded by guards who are his potential victims of choice. Would you concede that guards in a prison would be safer if a guard killer were to be executed?

  • Would you concede that guards in a prison would be safer if a guard killer were to be executed?

    The guards who are already dead won’t be any safer, but aside from them, definitely maybe. What measures were in place to protect the guards before they were murdered by inmates? If obvious preventative measures were lacking, then Catechism instructs us to improve preventative measures before resorting to the death penalty. Would you concede that to be true?

  • Spambuddy:

    Genesis: “Who spills man’s blood, by man shall his blood be spilled. For man is made in God’s image.”

    No Catholic questioned the DP. The modernist subversion after Vat II changed much of traditional teaching and practice.

    If you want (I doubt that) to understand the traditional Catholic teaching, I suggest you find and read the Catechism “capital punishment” entry prior to its complete re-write by worldlies, carnals and secular humanist heretics.

    The DP is punishment. It is not about defense or protection, or keeping the murderer from again killing.

    Arming and training good people, and allowing them to organize and coordinate are more effective protections against the filthy animals. The DP Is about deterrence. It’s about punishment, penance, expiation.

    But, but [sputter] “There is no such thing as a bad man!” BARF

  • “What measures were in place to protect the guards before they were murdered by inmates? If obvious preventative measures were lacking, then Catechism instructs us to improve preventative measures before resorting to the death penalty. Would you concede that to be true?”

    I would concede that Spambot if I thought that it were possible for any prison or jail to make prisoners harmless both to guards and their fellow inmates. I do not believe that is the case.

    The Catechism asserts the following as a fact:

    “Today, in fact, as a consequence of the possibilities which the state has for effectively preventing crime, by rendering one who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm – without definitely taking away from him the possibility of redeeming himself – the cases in which the execution of the offender is an absolute necessity “are very rare, if not practically nonexistent.”68”

    My point is that is an error of fact. The State, short of the death penalty, cannot render someone who has committed an offense incapable of doing harm. Whoever drafted this portion of the catechism, I suspect that they never worked in a prison as a guard.

  • I would concede that Spambot if I thought that it were possible for any prison or jail to make prisoners harmless both to guards and their fellow inmates. I do not believe that is the case.

    I think it may be possible to make the risk negligible– there’s just no chance that we’ll institute it. Taking a page from Japan’s current prison system and making all cells part of isolation, small as reasonable, etc. Maybe even standard psych ward style rooms?

    *shrug* Like I said, it won’t be instituted, no matter if it would make prison safer for all involved, as well as more effective at the purpose of protecting the public.

  • Taking a page from Japan’s current prison system and making all cells part of isolation, small as reasonable, etc. Maybe even standard psych ward style rooms?

    I would wager making solitary confinement the norm (while desirable) would trigger lawsuits and judicial freebooting. McKenna, esq. has been maintaining for some time that agitators against the death penalty aspire to replace not merely capital sentances but punishment itself. Would not surprise me to discover was true of some of these characters.

  • Okay, there is more to say, but I’ll leave it at that for now and pick up next time around. Also, please be sure to bring immigration policy into the mix next time a list like this is put together.

  • I left immigration policy out in part because I don’t think it aligns as cleanly. With the possible exception of the death penalty, being a conservative Catholic and being politically conservative don’t necessarily line up. Further, in my experience, my political conservatives who are Catholic are softer on immigration issues than other conservatives (others aren’t) and then there are crazly libertarianish conservatives like me who support virtually open borders but oppose the minimum wage.

  • Spamlib: Do you want to feed and clothe the entire Western hemisphere? Have at it. I want to peacefully feed and clothe my family in my intact community. Don’t execrate those of us whose families are being screwed by the invasion.

    Illegal immigration: what part of illegal don’t you understand?

    No wait! The rich ain’t paying enough taxes to feed and clothe the entire Western Hemisphere.

    The facts are this is bankrupting and destroying communities, hospitals, school systems, etc.

    Liberal catholics only obey laws and Commandments with which their well-gyrated, liberal, steal from the rich consciences agree!

    Honor thy father and thy mother. For adults it usually means obeying laws. And, it is not conditional or qualified.

    Thou shalt not steal. Again, not conditional or qualified.

    Thou shalt not bear false witness.

    […]

  • T. Shaw that is enough of that. Spambot asked reasonable questions and he deserves to be treated with respect.

  • Art Deco-
    All one has to do is look at the maximum “punishment” awaiting that murderous SOB that shot up the child’s camp to sense the truth of the notion that the death penalty is just the first target.

  • There’s no really no need for Catholics to torture reason and claim that capital punishment in the US is necessary to keep society safe. Capital punishment is permissible even if there would be zero benefits outside mere retributive justice.

    Having said that I think Catholics like Justice Scalia go too far in criticizing our bishops who stop just short of an Ordinary Magisterium ban.

  • RR:
    How do you square that with the Catechism? Or do you disavow the Catechism? I am not trying to be provocative here — just genuinely curious.

  • And I pretty much agree with Don’s observation re the Catechism’s error in fact. I found the quoted language very odd, in that it seems so plainly to enunciate a prudential conclusion that is out of place in a Catechism. And I say this as one who *generally* disfavors the death penalty and would abolish it except in cases of murders committed in or from (yes, murders are often ordered from) prison.

  • Mike, application to a specific place and time is a prudential judgment but the principle that capital punishment should not be used if not necessary to keep society safe is not. I would reject that principle but for the fact that it’s in the Catechism and taught practically universally (which may even make it infallible). IMO, it requires obsequium religiosum, at the very least. So I would not support public policy that conflicts with it and I would not publicly oppose it (something I have done in error in the past).

    Of course you can still support capital punishment as applied in the US but I think you really have to torture logic to justify it.

  • “Some would say, well Father, what about those people who support the war in Iraq, or the death penalty, or oppose undocumented aliens? Aren’t those just as important, and aren’t Catholic politicians who support those “bad Catholics” too?

    “Simple answer: ‘no.’ Not one of those issues, or any other similar issues, except for the attack on traditional marriage is a matter of absolute intrinsic evil in itself.”
    Father John DeCelles, 9/1/1008

    A noted theologian penned the following, “Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia. For example, if a Catholic were to be at odds with the Holy Father on the application of capital punishment or on the decision to wage war, he would not for that reason be considered unworthy to present himself to receive Holy Communion. While the Church exhorts civil authorities to seek peace, not war, and to exercise discretion and mercy in imposing punishment on criminals, it may still be permissible to take up arms to repel an aggressor or to have recourse to capital punishment. There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia.” The noted theologian that wrote the above is now Pope Benedict XVI

    Mac,

    I won’t respond to spambot’s detractions, no never no more.

  • I won’t respond to spambot’s detractions, no never no more

    I had to look the definition and found this:
    “Detraction in a general sense is a mortal sin, as being a violation of the virtue not only of charity but also of justice. ”
    http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/04757a.htm

    I had no idea.

  • That fabled garment may be “seamless” yet it has more than enough holes to suit a hydra-headed millipede.

  • If I must bear an adjective I suppose that adjective would be conservative, and yet some of the conservative Catholic sites seem to be more Ron Paul than Pope John Paul.

  • Regarding the debate on Capital Punishment ( aka the death penalty), I need someone to explain to me the reasoning for eliminating it. I have heard that due to modern advancements we can “safely” imprison people for life. I don’t understand these modern improvements. Did we just now invent stone walls and steel bars? As it was hinted at by Art Deco; those who would abolish the DP today would cry foul at lifetime terms tomorrow as too inhumane and definitely not Catholic.
    There are some instances where society must admit this or that person is too evil to remain upon earth and turn them over to the eternal Judge.

Thieves

Thursday, November 10, AD 2011

As the father of an autistic son who my wife and I love more than our lives, and who we will be caring for during the rest of our lives, I have one word to describe the activities of the Service Employees International Union as detailed in the following story from the Washington Examiner:  Despicable.

 

If you’re a parent who accepts Medicaid payments from the State of Michigan to help support your mentally-disabled adult children,  you qualify as a state employee for the purposes of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). They can now claim and receive a portion of your Medicaid in the form of union dues.

 

Robert and Patricia Haynes live in Michigan with their two adult children, who have cerebral palsy. The state government provides the family with insurance through Medicaid, but also treats them as caregivers. For the SEIU, this makes them public employees and thus members of the union, which receives $30 out of the family’s monthly Medicaid subsidy. The Michigan Quality Community Care Council (MQC3) deducts union dues on behalf of SEIU.

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5 Responses to Thieves

  • Michigan is among the worst of the progressivist, nannyish, union-dominated states. You may recall that some union, it may have been the SEIU, actuallly had a law passed allowing them to take money from home-based child-care providers here. (Nation-wide conservative outrage and the influx of Republicans in the ’10 elections has rendered the law nugatory, but it seems to be on the books still.) Unions are so entrenched here that new Republican majories in both houses and a Rep. Gov. haven’t made a bit of difference. (This, by the way, is what will happen nationally with a Romney victory–it will be meaningless.) Realize also that state employee unions use involunntarily collected funds from state-paid employees to lobby for increased state-employee pay so that they may collect more lobbying funds to lobby etc.

  • I despise unions, also, Donald. My story is entirely different than yours, however. When I got out of the US Submarine Service, I went to work at a commercial pressurized water reactor as a union I&C technician. One incident in particular convinced me to get out of the union. Like all light water reactors, we had an acoustical monitoring system used to detect loose parts in the reactor coolant system during operation at power. Even very small loose parts (tiny nylon springs, almost mircoscopic washers, etc.) can be dangerous because if they get past the debris strainers at the bottom of the fuel assembly rods, they can impact the soft zircalloy metal that keeps the fuel pins intact. After repeated vibrations, the zircalloy can undergo what’s called debris fretting, and the fuel pins could be exposed to the reactor coolant. Of course that would result in the release of fission products directly into the reactor coolant system, and that is not a good thing. The US NRC takes a very dim view of failed fuel elements, because that means that the first barrier to fission product release [ (1) fuel rod, (2) reactor coolant piping, and (3) reactor containment ] has been degraded. Usually when that happens, adjacent control rods have to be inserted to suppress neutron flux in the area so that the fissions in the affected fuel rod will be stopped, but that messes up thermal neutron flux profile across the core, and a whole set of other effects happen. Sometimes a complete shutdown is required and the defective fuel assembly has to be removed. That costs a million dollars a day to do, and it is by no means a quick process.

    So what does that all have to do with unions? When, as an I&C technician, I was responsible for calibrating the system that would detect debris in the reactor coolant system and allow us to take corrective action before that debris might cause a fuel element failure. There is a Regulatory Guide on all this – RG-1.133:

    http://pbadupws.nrc.gov/docs/ML0037/ML003740137.pdf

    Unfortunately we had an old analog system that we used for this purpose, and we had no calibration procedure to make certain the system (we called in the metal impact monitoring system or MIMS) was working right. So I figured out how the system worked (having been a Navy nuke, I was used to taking things apart and putting them back together again, and then writing a procedure to reflect what I had done). I then wrote the procedure that the aforementioned Regulatory Guide required and turned it into management.

    The union shop steward confronted me with what I had done, yelling at me that I was costing them union jobs and overtime. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. Overtime was more important to this guy than having a correctly written procedure to calibrate a system that we would use to detect impending fuel element failures and prevent an unnecessary plant shutdown. This would save the company millions (and keep the publc safe – duh!). At that point I made up my mind to get the heck out of the union. I was successful within a year or so of that decision and never again have I had to work in any union, thanks be to God.

    I could tell you many other stories – union techs waiting till 3 pm quitting time to tell us there was a problem, and they did it deliberately to get the overtime. After all, at a nuke plant problems have to be addressed post-haste. Another example – engineers at a sister nuke plant voted in the union. When I went to teach them, if the class or the test lasted even one minute past their normal quitting time, they would just walk out. No responsibility. No accountability.

    I utterly despise unionism, liberalism, progressivism and democracy – two wolves and one sheep voting on what’s for dinner. I now work in a company where there are no union techs, and if we have to work an hour or two past quitting time to get the darn job done, then we do. Sure, we complain, but we choose to serve our customer and have a good reputation. Then our boss gives us compensatory time off. We don’t need unions. Being nuclear professionals, we are paid very well (you, John Q. Public, do the paying in your electric bill), and as a result we are expected to behave as adults. I realize nowadays that’s a unique concept.

  • A push was made a couple of years ago, I believe, by SEIU to unionize home care assistants in Illinois but it failed, mainly because of opposition from those who were serving as Medicaid supported caregivers for their own family members.

    It is stuff like this that makes me wonder what to do with my own child, who is autistic. I feel like it would be wrong to rely upon the state or federal government to care for her, particularly when it involves cooperation with corrupt entities such as this, but since my husband and I are not going to live forever and she has no siblings or other relatives close to her age, what are we to do?

  • We parents of autistic kids Elaine, and other disabled kids, will have to set up our own support systems to help all of our kids after we are gone. My autistic son’s twin brother, a very dependable young man, will carry on after we are gone, but I can understand that many parents are not as fortunate as we are, and we will all need to work together to resolve this problem for everyone.

  • Yes, it was in MI that the home based day care businesses were unionized by stealth, although I think that has finally ended. The legislature dealt with the home health care worker unionization by defunding whatever department it was that was upholding it…to no avail. Some Repub senator (a physician by the way) out of the Saginaw area has been doing all he can to keep the home health care worker union scam going. http://www.michigancapitolconfidential.com/15943

    The unions are also trying to unionzie the student employees of Michigan U in Ann Arbor–not the ones in the school cafeteria, but the grad assistances. They tried that many moons back and failed. This time it looks like they might fail again, but YNK.